According to insiders, Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton have a relationship that may be the makings of a clash of generations. It is not uncommon for different generations to clash with one another, but when it happens in today’s Royal Family, all of England is a stage and all the world looks on. Everyone has a stake in this issue because the clashes in the Royal Family draw attention to the polarization of today’s young and old that is taking place in society everywhere.
Queen Elizabeth II became the longest living monarch of England yesterday breaking the record set by Queen Victoria of 63 years, seven months and two days as queen. All of England is celebrating this amazing record. However, the record does draw attention to the fact that the Queen Elizabeth II has passed through a couple of generations on her way to her amazing record. She became queen in 1952 at the age of 25 and now at the age of 89 she has been queen through the administrations of 12 British prime ministers, 12 U.S. presidents, and seven popes. As one historian put it, she has come to represent life the way past generations lived. She has seen men land on the moon, the 1960s generation, the Beatles, Vietnam War, 9/11 and the destruction of the Twin Towers, the rise of radical Islam, and much more. Her life has passed by many cultural changes.
Kate Middleton, on the other hand, represents the “now” generation. She and Prince William are both 33. They definitely represent the generation of computers, cell phones, maternity leave, women’s rights, and cultural mayhem. Her generation has never known a day without computers and a cell phone, Google, HD Television, and Twitter. It is a fast-moving generation with both husband and wife holding down jobs and day care or a nanny for the children. Her generation, as one writer put it, moves at a fast pace and never looks back or forward.
Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton represent a clash of cultures but because of the private culture of the royal family, the public hears very little about it. Historian David Starkey relates that in private many who know the royals say the queen at times can be quite sharp and approaching malicious. Starkey goes on to say that in public it is the attitude of the royals to remain silent about what goes on behind the scenes. The clash of cultures does not take place in public but, according to insiders, it is real.
The generation of Elizabeth II embraces appearances whereas Kate’s thirty-something generation embraces the “this is the way I am” attitude. For example, Life & Style magazine is reporting that the queen put some undue pressure on Kate to resume her royal duties. An insider told the magazine that the queen was not impressed by the amount of time Kate was spending on her royal duties and it was time to get back to work. To the surprise of all, it is now being reported by a Cosmopolitan source that Kate is pregnant with baby number 3. According to this source the queen apparently is concerned with the way it looks and Kate is expressing the freedom of the generation of maternity leave and women’s rights.
This article hints at a private versus public difference of opinion. The queen is coming from the private approach and Kate is simply being a thirty-something of this generation. A “royal insider” relates that Kate has very little relationship with Elizabeth II. Of course, this adds to the argument that the clash of generations makes it difficult to develop relationships.
Another disagreement was reported by Life & Style in July. There it was reported that the queen and Kate clashed over moving her child, prince George out of London. In the same article, Kate is said to be very dissatisfied with the way the queen treats her about the clothes she wears, her expensive tastes and her parenting. The article indicates that Elizabeth II feels that Kate is acting like a commoner.
The clash of cultures seen in the relationship between Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton can be said to be representative of the challenges faced by all generations dealing with people older and younger than themselves. On the other hand, when this challenge is faced by the royal family of England it can become a royal issue.
By Lloyd Gardner
Edited By Leigh Haugh
Cosmopolitan.com: Kate Middleton Pregnant Third Baby
International Business Times.com: Kate Middleton Feud Queen Elizabeth Continues
Life and Style Magazine: Kate Middleton and the Queen
International Business Times.com: Kate Middleton War with Queen Elizabeth
Photo Courtesy of Liz Smith’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License